East Bay News

Coach Carter to hold charity event for victim

Friday, October 30, 2009

One of the suspects arrested in the gang rape of a Richmond High School girl during a homecoming campus dance last weekend has been released from jail as the community tries to cope with what happened.

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The deputy district attorney has given walking papers to 21-year-old Salvador Rodriguez of Richmond. Dara Cashman says there is insufficient evidence to keep him.

She'll decide on Monday whether to bring charges against 18-year-old Jose Carlos Montano arrested outside his San Pablo home Thursday night.

The gang rape has caused the city to take a look at itself.

A visitor to Richmond High on Friday was former coach Ken Carter. In 1999 he locked out his undefeated basketball team because of poor grades. His story became the film "Coach Carter."

"Everybody's talking about the problem. I'm here to try to find solutions," said Carter. "How do we turn this obstacle into a situation everybody would sit up and take note and say 'Listen, we're not going to stand for this anymore. This community isn't going to stand for this anymore.' It will make the difference."

Carter is setting up a charity basketball game to help the victim's family. The school district superintendent, Bruce Harter, says the incident has caused the cancellation of a Halloween dance at Richmond's Kennedy High School.

"We have hundreds of other activities and dances that we have during the course of a year and so on. We have to rethink what our safety protocol are around all of these," said Harter.

He calls what happened the worst nightmare of any parent.

"I think that's what we're reeling from in this community, is the degree to which people were watching," said Rhonda James with the Community Violence Solutions center.

Community Violence Solutions is the county's 24-hour rape crisis center. The reaction there has been shock and disappointment.

"We've not done a good job with ourselves and certainly not with our youth to become empowered enough to have one person step up and be able to do the right thing and make a phone call," said James.

Counselors are on campus and boys in all grades are getting lessons about prevention.

On campus the emphasis is on healing. Parents and students are invited to a community safety meeting Saturday morning to talk about what changes need to be made.

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